What Responsibilities do Small Businesses Have with the Coronavirus Pandemic?

There has been a lot of attention paid to the global pandemic surrounding the coronavirus. Already, universities are sending their students home, the biggest sports leagues in the country are completely on hold, and many companies are considering having their employees work from home. This has led many people to ask the question of how exactly companies need to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first place small businesses need to start is by reviewing the current strategies and policies they have in place. It is important to consider the legal risk that companies are taking by having their employees come to work. If there isn’t an adequate response plan in place for the company, this might end up with multiple legal concerns coming from human resources. According to the Law Offices of Gerald F. Connor, “Dealing with an injury requiring medical attention is an urgent and serious matter” and this includes illnesses that might be acquired at work. One of the reasons why the coronavirus pandemic is so severe is that it might hide inside of someone’s body for up to two weeks before symptoms appear. As a result, people might be infected and may not know it. This means that individuals are able to unknowingly transmit this virus to other people that might come into contact with throughout the workplace.

On the positive side, as long as small businesses pay attention to their employee safety program, they can minimize their risks as well as those of their employees. First, businesses need to stay up to date on the information that is being released by public health officials. If public health officials make detailed recommendations, they need to be followed. For example, many states have already stated that large gatherings should not take place. This is one of the reasons why the major sports leagues have shut down in the United States.

Likewise, it’s essential that the company assigns an office coordinator. This person will handle COVID-19 issues and other implications the disease has in the workplace. Additionally, organizations must provide non-restrictive and flexible leave policies that will permit sick personnel to stay at home and keep their distance from co-workers. 

If possible, they should offer flexible shifts or worksites to maintain social distancing among employees. This step is vital, especially if the government and local health officials advise practicing social distancing between 6 feet or 2 meters. Small companies should likewise look into developing a business continuity plan if there are adjustments in the operations. 

What’s more, businesses must intensify their hygiene measures. There should be commercial hand sanitizer stations available everywhere throughout the building. Then, managers must encourage employees to use these hand sanitizer stations on a regular basis. 

This will help reduce the spread of this virus throughout the workplace. Businesses also need to educate employees on how this virus is transmitted from person to person and the symptoms an infection might cause. They must likewise emphasize the importance of the proper etiquette for handwashing, coughing, and sneezing. Thus, businesses must provide soaps, tissues, no-touch trash bins, aside from alcohol and hand sanitizers. 

Besides these, companies should discuss their response plans to their staff and convey their objectives. Employees must be aware of the company’s steps in case a COVID-19 infection happens in the workplace. Aside from that, they should inform their staff about the available employee assistance they can offer. And if workers still have other concerns, they can advise and talk about them with their managers.  

Alex